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STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN
• CALIFORNIA CHROME SET FOR SANTA ANITA DERBY
• THESE ‘SHOES’ WERE MADE FOR SAN LUIS REY DISTANCE
• BAYERN WORKS, BAFFERT UNDECIDED ON NEXT RACE
• LUCARELLI PROUD OF FIRST GRADED WIN AT SANTA ANITA
CALIFORNIA CHROME WORKS SATURDAY FOR SANTA ANITA DERBY
Streaking California Chrome will make his next start in the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 5, trainer Art Sherman confirmed Thursday morning by phone from his Los Alamitos headquarters.
“It’s a relief that we’ve made the decision,” Sherman said. “The horse will blow out a half-mile Saturday with Victor (regular rider Victor Espinoza) on, and probably have one more half-mile before the race, then ship over five days before we run. The horse is acting really good right now.”
Winner of five of nine starts for owners/breeders Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome is a California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit who has won his last three races—all stakes, including the Grade II San Felipe on March 8—by a combined margin of 19 lengths.
VAGABOND SHOES HOPES TO WALK THE WALK IN SAN LUIS REY
Distance is no problem for Vagabond Shoes. The 7-year-old Irish-bred gelding won the Grade II San Marcos Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on turf Feb. 8, and stretches out to a mile and a half in Saturday’s Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes, also on the grass.
“He shouldn’t have any problem with a mile and a half," said John Sadler, who trains the chestnut son of Beat Hollow for two of his principal owners, Kosta and Peter Hronis. “He only got beat three lengths (actually, 2 ¼) in the Breeders’ Cup (Turf) at a mile and a half, and it was a very good race in the San Marcos, so he’s ready to go.
“He had a good work (Monday, six furlongs in 1:13.20), and at a mile and a half, he’s fairly versatile.”
Vagabond Shoes has two grade II wins in the U.S. from nine starts. Overall, he has an 8-5-3 record from 29 starts with earnings of $665,497.
The field for the San Luis Rey, race four of nine: Vagabond Shoes, Victor Espinoza, 4-5; Niagara Falls, Rafael Bejarano, 10-1; Lucayan, Mike Smith, 5-2; Fire With Fire, Tyler Baze, 9-2; and Temeraine, Gary Stevens, 4-1.
BAYERN WORKS FOUR FURLONGS, NEXT RACE UNDISCLOSED
Bayern, unbeaten in two starts including a 15-length allowance win at one mile on Feb. 13, worked four furlongs in company Thursday morning under Gary Stevens in 47.40. Stablemate Superlooper was timed in 48 flat.
“He went nice,” Bob Baffert said of the Kentucky-bred son of Offlee Wild owned by Kaleem Shah. “He sat behind a horse, he relaxed nice.” Asked whether Bayern might run in either the Santa Anita Derby on April 5 or the Arkansas Derby on April 12, Baffert said, “I don’t know yet.”
In other news on the 3-year-old front:
John Sadler said San Vicente winner Kobe’s Back returned from his eventful escapade in Saturday’s Rebel Stakes in good shape, “but we don’t have a plan yet” for his next race. “He went back to the track today.”
LUCARELLI WINS FIRST GRADED STAKES AT SANTA ANITA
It wasn’t like pitching a perfect game or getting the winning hit in the seventh game of the World Series, but for trainer Frank Lucarelli, winning his first graded stakes at Santa Anita was pretty special.
The 56-year-old Lucarelli saddled Stormy Lucy to win Sunday’s Grade II Santa Ana Stakes by a length-and-a-half as the 9-2 third choice in the 1 1/8-mile turf race.
Rafael Bejarano was aboard the 5-year-old Stormy Atlantic mare owned by Erica Gaunt for the first time, replacing Isaias Enriquez.
“All I told Bejarano was, ‘You do the riding, but she’ll go anywhere.’ She’ll go inside, between ‘em, around ‘em, over ‘em. She’s an easy horse to get around there. You’ve just got to find the right spot.
“I love Isaias Enriquez. He rode her very well in the mile and an eighth here (Robert J. Frankel Stakes) to get beat a nose . . . But anytime you can get Rafael on a horse, you have to be very thankful for that and it certainly had a great outcome. I’ve won a couple smaller stakes here but this is my first graded win at Santa Anita and I’ve been training for 35 years, ever since I got released from the minor leagues (laughing).”
Lucarelli made his training bones mainly at Emerald Downs in Washington State and in the Bay Area. Despite Sunday’s historic win, he plans to continue to pick his spots in Southern California.
“I love Emerald Downs,” Lucarelli said. “That’s where I get these horses going. Stormy Lucy's first start was at Emerald Downs. The good ones I take to the Bay Area and the better ones I try to filter to Santa Anita. I kind of run up and down, but now, Washington and Golden Gate are my main spots.
“I don’t know that I have the horses or the owners to have a greater presence in Southern California. What works for me is training at Golden Gate. When I need to come to Santa Anita and run a horse or two, I do.
“I love Santa Anita and I’d love to spend more time here, but being realistic about the horses I have and what I can do, it wouldn’t make sense to try and make a big move.”
FINISH LINES: Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Secret Circle worked four furlongs for Bob Baffert in company Thursday. Secret Circle was timed in a bullet 46 seconds under Martin Garcia, while workmate Beach Hut went in 46.20 . . . Multiple graded turf stakes winner Bright Thought worked a mile on the main track under regular exercise rider Pedro Arambula in 1:39.40. “He went the last quarter in 24 and change,” said trainer Jorge Gutierrez . . . Host Tom Quigley’s handicapping seminar guests in the East Paddock Gardens at 11:20 a.m. will be Geoff Shackelford, contributing writer to Golf World & Digest Magazines, Saturday, and Tyler Hoffman, Santa Anita ShowVivor winner, Sunday.